Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 25th Dec 2006 19:58 UTC, submitted by Michael Larabel
3D News, GL, DirectX "Nouveau is a community project that is working on producing open-source 3D display drivers for NVIDIA graphics cards. Nouveau is not affiliated with Nvidia Corp and is an X.Org project. While this project is still far from being completed, for this holiday special we are sharing some of our first thoughts on this project from our experience thus far. We would like to make it very clear, however, that the Nouveau driver is no where near completed and still has a great deal of work ahead for the 3D component. This article today will also hopefully shed some light on the advancements of this project so far."
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tux68
Member since:
2006-10-24

I strongly disagree. Specialized processors (such as video) and their specialized memory subsystems have outpaced standard CPUs by a wide margin -- to the point that companies such as Intel are feeling left out in the cold (see recent OsNews article about Intel trying to buy talent for its own video processor campaign). If anything, technology development is going to accelerate, not slow down in the years ahead. You simply can't compare the pace of innovation in video cards versus IDE/SATA chipsets. It's night and day.

It's not night and day at all. There is only so much you can do with 3D hardware. There's only so many things you can add to the mix to help, there's only so much hardware you'll _ever_ need. Much of the reason for the constant flow of newer video cards is for performance reasons. A time will come when there is simply enough performance that newer cards won't be as necessary or introduce nearly as much change.

Think of cars for instance. Yes, year after year they introduce slightly new features and design shapes. However, do you have to relearn how to drive a car each year? It is the same in computer technology.

There's absolutely no reason to believe that 3d hardware is so special that it will evolve forever and ever at such a rate of speed as it does today. Eventually it will slow down and pose a much slower target to track.

Face it: You're inevitably dependent on nVidia -- regardless of which direction you go -- because you won't get software to reverse-engineer unless they prosper. So you might as well admit that you're dependent and work with them rather than try to keep up with copying their technology. Plus, you get a hand in telling nVidia and others what YOU think is important, rather than having Microsoft set the agenda.

No, we won't be dependent on nVidia, they're not the only hardware vendor. If they go out of business we'll have open source drivers that will continue to work with the hardware they produced while they were operating. Even if they signed a deal with someone to exclusively support their operating system (say Windows for example), we will still have our open source drivers. It puts us in the drivers seat; that's really the point.


Apples and oranges. It wasn't necessary to reverse-engineer anything to produce Linux.

Sorry you're just simply wrong here. Many drivers in Linux were reverse engineered from Windows and other OS drivers.

Edited 2006-12-27 06:59

Reply Parent Score: 5

Morin Member since:
2005-12-31

> A time will come when there is simply enough
> performance that newer cards won't be as necessary or
> introduce nearly as much change.

People also said that the limit of requirements for RAM, or CPU cycles, or hard disk space, or portable storage size, or screen resolution, or whatever has been reached. They said that all time, and were proven wrong every single time.

As for the domain of graphics processing, and in a general sense specialized parallel processing for virtual reality implementation, I don't see a sensible limit within the next 50 years.

Reply Parent Score: 1

tux68 Member since:
2006-10-24

People also said that the limit of requirements for RAM, or CPU cycles, or hard disk space, or portable storage size, or screen resolution, or whatever has been reached. They said that all time, and were proven wrong every single time.

You're right of course, but they made the mistake of specifying a specific quantity. You say yourself you can see a limit 50 years out, maybe it's a 100. But that really wasn't the main point: the exponential _rate_ of change will diminish just as we see Moores law starting to taper off in the CPU realm.

However in the shorter term there's lots of reason to believe the situation will improve even in the face of many advancements in the performance of 3d video cards. Much in the same way that CPU's continue to perform better and change large parts of the underlying silicon while maintaining an instruction set that hardly changes at all. Similarly, there is every reason to believe that even while video card performance will continue to improve, and offer VR etc, the underlying programming interaction with the card won't need to change nearly as much.

But no matter what the technical challenges, doing the best we can is a better option than begging nVidia for a binary blob we have no control over ourselves, and then praying they don't get bought up by Microsoft etc.

As an aside, once a community developed open source driver exists, it removes many of the reasons nVidia has given about why they can't provide an open source driver themselves. Perhaps they will have a change of heart and offer patches here and there where they can. But we'll never create the conditions for that to happen if we just accept the status-quo.

It's a great project with lots of reason to think it will ultimately succeed, even if some people think we should give up before really getting started.

Reply Parent Score: 1